Before we get to today's blog, a few notes about the competitive imbalance whining that people love to moan about in baseball and some observations from baseball's first few days. Three games into the 2010 season and 29 of the 30 teams already have at least one loss. Which means, for those of you scoring at home, 29 of the 30 teams also have at least one victory. And the lone remaining undefeated team is not the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox or Philadelphia Phillies or any of the usual suspects. And the lone remaining winless team is not the Washington Nationals or New York Mets or Kansas City Royals. It is a team that should be a pretty good team this year, that has a payroll north of $80 million.
Other early notes-
The Red Sox better find some consistent offense and soon, otherwise, not only will the Rays blow by them, but the Sox will find themselves in a battle for 3rd place with Baltimore.
The White Sox have really good pitching.......and no offense. Maybe it's just a Sox thing.
Jon Rauch seems to be sliding into that closer's role in Minnesota without a hitch - 2 for 2 in saves, on the road, in Anaheim. Joe who?
The Phillies are good. Really, really good. But.....
I still think the Cardinals are better.
The Dodgers look very disjointed out of the gate. Most people knew they would struggle stopping other teams from scoring, but if they can't get consistent offense, it could be a very long season in Southern California.
Personally, I am over the moon that the last remaining unbeaten team is San Francisco. And the fact that they did it not only with outstanding pitching....but that they also found what appears to be a pulse on offense. I don't know if it will last (Renteria is allegedly 34 years old, Molina looks like he weighs 300 lbs and I still don't trust Aubrey Huff), but if they keep scoring 4 or more runs a game, they are going to be very tough to beat.
The Atlanta Braves finished their game with the Chicago Cubs a little after 10pm last night. If they showered, dressed and hustled to the airport for their charter flight, after passing TSA inspection, maybe, and I mean maybe, they took off by 11:30 pm. The flight from Atlanta to San Francisco is approximately 5 1/2 hours. That's 5am eastern time / 2am pacific time. By the time they get their bags and get to the hotel, it would have been after 6am eastern time / 3am pacific time. They play the Giants today, in the Giants home opener at 4:35 eastern time / 1:35 pacific time. This means the Braves would have to be at the field by 10:30 am pacific time. Even as the world's biggest Giants fan, I see a major problem with this. The Giants got to rest comfortably yesterday, after finishing their series in Houston on Wednesday, and having yesterday off to rest.
I am not 100% sure, nor am I going to sift through the MLB Constitution, but I am pretty sure there is a rule against exactly what the Braves are being asked to do. It is my understanding that barring playing a make up game of some sort, a team can not play a night game in one city and then turn around and play a day game in another city. Let alone 3,000 miles away. It is my belief that if the Giants were adamant that they wanted their home opener to be a day game, that MLB should have had the Braves and Cubs play a day game in Atlanta yesterday so that the Braves could have gotten on an early flight to San Francisco. Otherwise, they should have scheduled the Giants home opener as a night game to give the Braves players a chance to rest today. In either case, the Braves are being asked to do something that is unfair and I'm pretty sure against MLB regulations. I am assuming the Braves and/or the MLBPA would have to have approved something like this. And if so, kudos to the Braves for agreeing to this. But it's still not really fair to the players.
Oh, and as long as we are discussing this weekend's Braves-Giants series, be sure to tune in Sunday for what promises to be a really fun showdown. The Giants will send their ace, Tim Lincecum to the hill (he of back to back Cy Young awards, all 5'9", 150 lbs soaking wet of him) to face the Braves' newest phenom hitter, Jason Heyward (the man who went deep on his first MLB at bat, and 6'7" 270 lbs). That will be a fun battle to watch.